A History of Digital Violence

The American West in (Early) Video Game Culture

Currently in the conceptional phase, this project aims to retrace and scrutinize themes and tropes of the American West as part of (early) video game culture. The goal is to historicize the development of spatial formats and narratives like the frontier and manifest destiny as they were and still are represented and interactively performed in electronic media. Read More

Discovery

It's Nice to Be in Orbit

Discovery became the third operational orbiter to enter service, preceded by Columbia and Challenger. It embarked on its last mission, STS-133, on February 24, 2011 and touched down for the final time at Kennedy Space Center on March 9, having spent a cumulative total of almost a full year in space. Discovery performed both research and International Space Station (ISS) assembly missions, and also carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. Read More

Monument

Boston, Massachusetts

When I lay down and none can wake me. When I’m between the covers. I hear that song, transporting me to places unknown. Translating me to words unspoken. It’s easier to be here, in the in-between. A blank sheet snuck in an unreadable tome. Unfound. Ever bound for the false, in love with the error, and thoroughly a-historical. No one to riot, I am my own private revolution, every day. I would kill for a cup of tea in the land of cotton. Quitting is not a job, it’s a passion. This is the intermediate realm of passion, half awake, half dead. I open my eyes to gaze inside, to see the thing that brought me here. A monument of... Read More

Mapping Discourse

In R.H. Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast"

When Richard Henry Dana Jr. visited San Francisco in 1859 after an absence of almost a quarter of a century, he was informed that, unbeknownst to him, he had become a man of considerable fame on the West Coast. As an adolescent, Dana was studying law at Harvard when he caught the measles, which led to a inflammatory condition that affected his eyesight and reading ability. Coming from a well-to-do family, to everyone's surprise Dana decided not to take the classical route of doing some R&R in the resorts of Europe. Instead, he marched to Boston harbor and signed up as a low-ranking merchant sailor on the Pilgrim bound for Alta California via Cape Horn and the Chilean Juan Fernandez... Read More

Coat of Arms

Vienna, Austria

In a dusty corner inside my room / Behind some silken cover / I found a coat of arms / For me to wear / In a city of the ancient rites / Imperial alcoves and ornate groves / I came here and it's hard to bear / For some of us it's tough to swallow Read More

Unsinkable

Dublin, Ireland

How much fun is it to almost miss your connection in Munich? I would say it all depends on you liking your name blaring loudly on airport speakers, pronounced with that particularly German semi-military ‘gusto.’ Read More

How to Escape a Train

Lisbon, Portugal

I flew again from your arms, from the home we have made for ourselves. On a train with green curtains and orange windows I am moving forward with this idea: Each morning I will be a stranger, wherever I am. My life will stay strange, evidence of incoherent movements, a trail coiling inwards but never reaching a center. Overlapping and colliding, future rewrites of a sense of home, a frivolous fulfillment that hates itself for standing still. Read More

Deep Time

Thessaloniki, Greece

How to leave your noise, your smog, your triple parked heaps of junk? How to break up with the city in which we climbed the highest tower, boarded wooden ships, dreaming up some fatal fever? The ruins under the streets are still there, you know, still ignored, lit up conspicuously by construction lights, sending hard shadows to the walls and into me. I try to swallow them and spit them out onto the busy city streets. Read More

The Odyssey

Thessaloniki, Greece

In a bus from Kavala, I see the undisturbed mirror of the Aegean sea to my left, rough rock faces rising to the right. Gazing into this broken shore, what is there to find but ever more questions, mountains to climb, bones to break, a new self to carve into a boulder, sticks to find or shells to crunch. This land is too old, it does not forget. It turns its sand to stone and lets it slide away. And lets it wash away into the sea to mix with salt, and weeds, and sunken treasures. What’s there is abstracted, connected to us in dreamscapes only. Accessible merely through fragments channelled through the fragments of self. The landscape is expecting,... Read More

The Adlershof Look

Berlin, Germany

I’m on my way to present yet another H.P. Lovecraft paper, this time at a conference in Thessaloniki, Greece. Planning this trip, however, presented a bit of a problem. The only flight from Berlin was too early (7am) to reach from Leipzig without sleeping at the airport. I’m getting too old for that, so I am doing the next best thing, i.e. sleeping near the airport in world-famous Berlin-Adlershof (in Treptow-Köpenick, literally “eagle’s court”). I’m guessing the name has to do with its proximity to the airport, using the eagle as synonym for a plane; at least that’s my entirely unfounded theory. Of course, both the intercity coach as well as the (world-infamous) S-Bahn (double frowning face) were bigly delayed.... Read More

Imaginary Places

Tübingen, Germany

It is a travelling of melancholy, years since my last long train journey through Germany. Fog, low hanging November clouds, specks of light on grey green brown patterns, rows of trees marking edges and possessions. Horses, cows, a flock of geese, a single wading stork pass by the window. I have to switch trains three times to get to tubingen. Read More

In-N-Out

St. Louis, Missouri

I gave my talk at nine (9) am (on a Sunday). Afterwards, I met someone I didn’t knew I knew who’s from Poland. Nice to meet at least someone at the conference I (didn’t knew I) knew. So that was it, first flight was, of course, overbooked; had to check my cabin bag for some reason. Flight from Paris to Berlin was late (again). Felt like hours waiting at the baggage claim, grabbed the bag and made a run for the bus stop. Motor was running, blinking to the left, starting to pull into traffic. I waved awkwardly and the driver must’ve seen that because he stopped the bulky green vehicle. Nice guy let me in, stowed my bags, everybody... Read More

A Happy Death

St. Louis, Missouri

I think I’ve never been so tired in my life. I am in St. Louis now. It took me a mere 50 (fifty) hours to get here. It is 9pm now and I was just surrounded by a motor cycle gang. Grown men on those strange, small bikes, doing wheelies and burnouts, loud as all hell (still, got some good videos, totally worth it). But let’s try to make sense (I’m a little drunk now but, as always, am most fearful of forgetting what in fact has occurred, and of which I shall now give a verbatim account for you, my faithful reader). If you remember, I was still situated at that haunted and foreboding hotel in Paris (Ibis). It... Read More

The Rabbit Hole

Paris, France

What a day. I almost forgot how much fun traveling could be. Fun and “fun” that is. To make a long story short(ish): The flight from Berlin was way late due to thick fog (that would not yield before the late October’s sun). Waiting in line for literally 4 (four) hours, I met a guy who works for the government. Let’s call him John. Ok, his name was actually John. We shared some travel stories and he suggested I write a book about it. Well, don’t worry: I won’t, but it did make me think about traveling and what it means (I don’t know, really. And I most definitely won’t reduce “it” to a smart-ass sentence someone would photoshop over... Read More

What's Wrong With the United States?

Oakland, California

It’s an interesting time to be alive. It is an even more exciting time to be in the US, no doubt. Having spent some time in the (southern) Midwest and now in the Bay Area, I already got a pretty good impression of some fault lines that run through American society after the recent presidential election. For instance, doing whiskey shots with some history teachers at Arnie’s Bar (10/10 would recommend) in Tulsa, everyone pretty much agreed on how devastating the election will prove for the years to come. That is until a young white guy joined us at the table and started aggressively promoting his ideas of racial segregation, circa 1920. Of course, everyone was quite baffled but we... Read More

Lovecraft in Tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma

My panel presentation at the Society of Early Americanists 10th Biennial Conference went pretty well, although, in classic Woellian fashion, I put a spoke in my wheel by starting off by quoting a longish Whitman poem. I guess that baffled some people who where already a little surprised to hear about H.P. Lovecraft in an academic field that cuts its strings at 1800. So if you’re interested how everybody’s favorite racialist cosmic horror author connects to Orientalized colonial spaces of contagion and death (and let’s be real: who wouldn’t be?), what follows is the transcript of my talk. And no, I’m not doing sources or bibliographies or anything like that, this is a blog. Sue me… Read More

The Midwest Appears to be Underrated

Tulsa, Oklahoma

What a great day in Tulsa with Maša and Carl and what an epic way to lose my jet lag, including (but not limited to) cruising around town in a cream-colored 1983 Mercedes on Route 66, eating insanely good BBQ, drinking lots of beer, playing arcade games almost for free, and listening to the local youth picking the Oklahoman banjo. I kid thee not, this has got to be one of the coolest ways to arrive anywhere! On a different note, I will probably puke during my presentation tomorrow in front of a hundred people. Read More